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Zvezda 1/144 scale Sukhoi Superjet 100

Kit:7009 // Scale:1/144 // Price:$26.99
Zvezda, from Dragon Models USA, 626-968-0322
Fine recessed panel lines; good detail for small scale; stand included; thin decals
Decals are fragile; soft cleat plastic
Injection-molded, 51 parts, decals

The 75–90-passenger Superjet is the first airliner from Sukhoi, a company known for its “Flanker” family of fighters. While the twin-engine regional jet is expected to replace the Tupolev Tu-134 and Yakovlev Yak-42 on routes in the former Soviet Union, Sukhoi hopes to sell the aircraft in Europe and the United States, too.

Zvezda’s Superjet follows the Russian company’s excellent Tu-154, Boeing 767, and 787 kits, and demonstrates the same level of detail and ease of construction.

Molded in dark gray plastic, the parts feature ultrafine recessed panel lines that hold up well under light paint coats. The kit can be built with the landing gear down or up; a sturdy stand is provided for the latter option.

The clear plastic for the windshield and cabin windows is softer than the gray, which has advantages and disadvantages: It is flexible enough to stand up to being stretched, making the windshield easier to fit, but the difference in the plastic complicates blending the parts. I left the cabin windows out to make painting easier, filling the windows with Testors clear parts cement at the end of the build.

Straightforward instructions show five construction steps with clear exploded-view drawings.

With its simple airframe and good fits all round, I built the model quickly. Don’t forget to add weight to the nose if you want the aircraft to sit on all three legs. I secured several small fishing sinkers with 5-minute epoxy before closing the fuselage. The joint was good, needing only a little super glue and sanding to make the seam disappear. The windshield’s sharp frame detail made masking easy. It fit well, too, with just a little super glue and sanding.

Next, I built the three-piece wing. The lower wing includes flap actuator fairings and much of the wing box, and it establishes the dihedral. The flaps and outer wings are molded with the upper wings; the trailing edges could be finer. Normally, I leave wings off airliners until after painting, but because so much of the wing box is included, I attached it and cleaned up seams before painting. I left the horizontal stabilizers separate.

The engines feature well-molded fans, hot sections, and one-piece intake rings and trunks that make construction and cleanup a snap.

Decals provide markings for a single Aeroflot Superjet in the Russian airline’s current scheme. Although the instructions say the wings and stabilizers are white, they look light gray in photos. I painted them with Tamiya spray-can insignia white (AS-20). The fuselage is Tamiya spray-can silver leaf and Tamiya acrylic royal blue.

The well-printed decals have minimal carrier film and go down nicely over gloss. They are very thin and easily ruined; I lost one of the red stencils from the nose through a mishap. Photos show Aeroflot’s Superjets have wingwalks marked with fine black lines, but none are provided in the kit.

The landing gear has terrific detail for the scale and fits perfectly, making final construction easy.

The model matches the look and stance of this brand-new airliner. It’s an easy build — I spent about 12 hours on mine, including painting and masking — and makes a terrific addition to my 1/144 scale tarmac. I plan to build another as soon as there are decals for Armenian airline Armavia.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the February 2012 issue of FSM.


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